DandyForDaisies

This is a botany blog run by a botany graduate student in Vancouver, Canada. I'm far too good at procrastinating, so feel free to ask me botany questions.


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If you look carefully at this picture, you can see three different species of plants in this photo. One of them is the orchid that I showed previously, another is a similar species of orchid, and the one featured today is a Scilla violacea (aka Ledebouria socialis), or perhaps more commonly as the Silver Squill, which sounds a bit like a comic book character.
I have to admit that I did not know what this plant was before today, and had to do a google image search for “common monocot houseplant with spotted leaves”. This was all very fortunate of me because it allowed me to chance upon this handsome fella’s blog, StupidGardenPlants, which you should check out for all the cool plants and commentary!
So, what can I tell you about this plant? Not terribly much unfortunately. Based on the floral parts in multiples of 3 (6 tepals, 6 stamens), we can say that the plant is a monocot. The flowers are tiny, and smaller than the nail of my pink finger. They grow one long, tall flowering stalks and are arranged in a raceme inflorescences (Side note: a raceme occurs when flowers grow on a flower stalk and each flower has a little stalk/pedicel that separates it from the flowering stalk). Even though the flowers are small, they flower over a long period of time with the lowest flowers on the stalk opening first.
The leaves, which I should go and take a picture of, form a swollen, purple bulb around the stem and are quite attractive. Apparently all parts of this plant are poisonous (at least to cats), so don’t eat it. 
I wish I had more to say about this beautiful plant, but I don’t really know anything else. Feel free to contribute your own knowledge!

If you look carefully at this picture, you can see three different species of plants in this photo. One of them is the orchid that I showed previously, another is a similar species of orchid, and the one featured today is a Scilla violacea (aka Ledebouria socialis)or perhaps more commonly as the Silver Squill, which sounds a bit like a comic book character.

I have to admit that I did not know what this plant was before today, and had to do a google image search for “common monocot houseplant with spotted leaves”. This was all very fortunate of me because it allowed me to chance upon this handsome fella’s blog, StupidGardenPlants, which you should check out for all the cool plants and commentary!

So, what can I tell you about this plant? Not terribly much unfortunately. Based on the floral parts in multiples of 3 (6 tepals, 6 stamens), we can say that the plant is a monocot. The flowers are tiny, and smaller than the nail of my pink finger. They grow one long, tall flowering stalks and are arranged in a raceme inflorescences (Side note: a raceme occurs when flowers grow on a flower stalk and each flower has a little stalk/pedicel that separates it from the flowering stalk). Even though the flowers are small, they flower over a long period of time with the lowest flowers on the stalk opening first.

The leaves, which I should go and take a picture of, form a swollen, purple bulb around the stem and are quite attractive. Apparently all parts of this plant are poisonous (at least to cats), so don’t eat it. 

I wish I had more to say about this beautiful plant, but I don’t really know anything else. Feel free to contribute your own knowledge!

Charitably speaking, my presence on this blog has been spotty at best. I apologize most profusely for this, alas, thesising does get in the way of plant blogging! Now that spring is upon us, I’ve been inspired to take a few more photos, so hopefully things change around a bit.

Pictured here is one of my orchids, a lovely plant called Dendrobium kingianum a.k.a. the pink rock orchid. I’m terrible with orchids, and I’ve had this plant for many, many years, but this is the very first time it has flowered for me. I’ve spoken extensively about the intricacies of orchid flowers in the past, and you can check out that post here. This genus of orchids typically has thicken stems known as pseudobulbs. This stem is full of water and energy, which allows the plants to withstand long periods of desiccation, which make them super hardy even for a bad orchid grower like me!

I decided to go cross country skiing up near Whistler today. I’ve always felt a bit mixed about skiing (especially downhill) because can be very superfluous and destructive. One of my favorite things about being outside hiking is that I can get away from people and travel somewhere interesting on my own feet. Skiing in groomed tracks just seems so confining! 
Anyway, because it’s still early in the season, many of the xc ski trails were not groomed yet.  Most people nowadays do skate skiing, which requires wide, week groomed trails to work.  I prefer and practice the classic style of skiing, which has a little more flexibility in where you can go. A groomed track is nice, but you can shuffle off into powder snow. 
This is what I ended up going today. I really wanted to get away from people and was the only person to go up these snowy trails. In fact, the park put up warning barriers after they found my trail leading up. It was hard work to trail break,but I end up seeing a lot of cool animal tracks. The image shown might be a squirrel. I’m imagining it bounding around in the snow, with its feet in pairs. Maybe I’m wrong… 
Anyway, no botany today.. everything was covered with snow!

I decided to go cross country skiing up near Whistler today. I’ve always felt a bit mixed about skiing (especially downhill) because can be very superfluous and destructive. One of my favorite things about being outside hiking is that I can get away from people and travel somewhere interesting on my own feet. Skiing in groomed tracks just seems so confining!
Anyway, because it’s still early in the season, many of the xc ski trails were not groomed yet.  Most people nowadays do skate skiing, which requires wide, week groomed trails to work.  I prefer and practice the classic style of skiing, which has a little more flexibility in where you can go. A groomed track is nice, but you can shuffle off into powder snow.
This is what I ended up going today. I really wanted to get away from people and was the only person to go up these snowy trails. In fact, the park put up warning barriers after they found my trail leading up. It was hard work to trail break,but I end up seeing a lot of cool animal tracks. The image shown might be a squirrel. I’m imagining it bounding around in the snow, with its feet in pairs. Maybe I’m wrong…
Anyway, no botany today.. everything was covered with snow!

I think it’s actually pretty uncommon for Vancouver to get so much snow, but here’s a view of my poor little pitcher plants (Darlingtonia's up front and Saracenia's in the back) on the balcony. Just two days ago I was running outside in shorts, so the temperature dropped pretty quickly for a short period of time. I think this layer of snow on top of the plants is actually better than a couple of weeks ago when we had the long freeze. At that time, the whole bog froze solid…that can't be good for the roots. This time around, I doubt the bog is frozen, and the ambient air temperature is already going up above zero.
This photo makes me think about how plants are mostly sessile (stuck to the ground) and have to simply endure whatever is thrown at them. For this reason, climate hugely impacts the survival of any given plant population. They can’t just move away temporarily until it cools down, or starts raining more. Obviously they’ve evolved numerous amazing ways to cope with this, but there are limits to how rapidly things can change.

I think it’s actually pretty uncommon for Vancouver to get so much snow, but here’s a view of my poor little pitcher plants (Darlingtonia's up front and Saracenia's in the back) on the balcony. Just two days ago I was running outside in shorts, so the temperature dropped pretty quickly for a short period of time. I think this layer of snow on top of the plants is actually better than a couple of weeks ago when we had the long freeze. At that time, the whole bog froze solid…that can't be good for the roots. This time around, I doubt the bog is frozen, and the ambient air temperature is already going up above zero.

This photo makes me think about how plants are mostly sessile (stuck to the ground) and have to simply endure whatever is thrown at them. For this reason, climate hugely impacts the survival of any given plant population. They can’t just move away temporarily until it cools down, or starts raining more. Obviously they’ve evolved numerous amazing ways to cope with this, but there are limits to how rapidly things can change.

Finally, an updated picture of my date palms. I photographed the ones I left indoors, because the outdoor ones are all mangled from recent freezes and windstorms. You’ll noticed in this picture I’ve added a quarter at the base to give you an idea of size. I think this is an important thing to consider when taking botanical photos…size matters :).
In any case, ubermichael asked me about growing dates from his own date seeds. This is more or less how I responded. Mind you, sometimes dates are frozen during the shipping process and this can severely decrease the viability of the seeds.

I think you can definitely try planting the seeds from your dates. They take quite awhile to germinate though. What you can do to speed the process is start with 5 or 6 seeds and wash them really really carefully so that all the sugary remnants of the ovary wall are removed. This will help minimize the likelihood of rotting. 
Next, I’d score the seeds a bit with sandpaper or maybe a knife. Just scratch up the surface a bit, and this will help the seeds absorb water in the next step. After that, I soaked the seeds in water for a day or more. You’ll see the seeds swell in size quite a bit. The seeds are then planted the seeds into soil. Make sure you remember how many seeds you planted. 
When they start to germinate, keep track of how many come out. The timing will vary from seed to seed, so you’ll probably need to wait at least two week before all the seeds that are viable will germinate. You’ll want to remove any that failed because otherwise they will rot and get infested with fungus gnats. I made this mistake and had little gnats buzzing around the house for days. They are more a nuisance than anything, but still a bit off putting.

Hopefully this helps everyone get their own beautiful date palm. Let’s meet in 10 years and we’ll share our lovely dates with each other!

Finally, an updated picture of my date palms. I photographed the ones I left indoors, because the outdoor ones are all mangled from recent freezes and windstorms. You’ll noticed in this picture I’ve added a quarter at the base to give you an idea of size. I think this is an important thing to consider when taking botanical photos…size matters :).

In any case, ubermichael asked me about growing dates from his own date seeds. This is more or less how I responded. Mind you, sometimes dates are frozen during the shipping process and this can severely decrease the viability of the seeds.

I think you can definitely try planting the seeds from your dates. They take quite awhile to germinate though. What you can do to speed the process is start with 5 or 6 seeds and wash them really really carefully so that all the sugary remnants of the ovary wall are removed. This will help minimize the likelihood of rotting.

Next, I’d score the seeds a bit with sandpaper or maybe a knife. Just scratch up the surface a bit, and this will help the seeds absorb water in the next step. After that, I soaked the seeds in water for a day or more. You’ll see the seeds swell in size quite a bit. The seeds are then planted the seeds into soil. Make sure you remember how many seeds you planted.

When they start to germinate, keep track of how many come out. The timing will vary from seed to seed, so you’ll probably need to wait at least two week before all the seeds that are viable will germinate. You’ll want to remove any that failed because otherwise they will rot and get infested with fungus gnats. I made this mistake and had little gnats buzzing around the house for days. They are more a nuisance than anything, but still a bit off putting.

Hopefully this helps everyone get their own beautiful date palm. Let’s meet in 10 years and we’ll share our lovely dates with each other!

I just realized that I neglected to follow up on my much earlier post on the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera). In that earlier post, I excitedly spoke about my germinating date seedlings. They had just started to come out of the ground at that point, and since then they’ve grown significantly. This photo was taken a few months ago during the summer and you can see the true leaves emerging. In the end, all of the seeds germinated and I divided the plants among a number of pots. I knew that winter was coming and I brought in most of plants. I left two outside just to see if they would survive the frost (it’s going to down to -5C outside right now). 
I’ll try to post some more recent photos soon. The little plants are much much larger now :). Pretty soon I’ll soon have a date producing tree.

I just realized that I neglected to follow up on my much earlier post on the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera). In that earlier post, I excitedly spoke about my germinating date seedlings. They had just started to come out of the ground at that point, and since then they’ve grown significantly. This photo was taken a few months ago during the summer and you can see the true leaves emerging. In the end, all of the seeds germinated and I divided the plants among a number of pots. I knew that winter was coming and I brought in most of plants. I left two outside just to see if they would survive the frost (it’s going to down to -5C outside right now). 

I’ll try to post some more recent photos soon. The little plants are much much larger now :). Pretty soon I’ll soon have a date producing tree.

Reblogged from brilliantbotany
nybg:

brilliantbotany:

This is the cross-section of a rose hip, the fruit that forms at the base of a rose. Many are edible and are used in everything from jellies to teas. This type of anatomy is called an inferior ovary, where the ovary sits below the other parts of the flower.
[Photo Source]

Never forget that fruit are a plant’s reproductive organs. ~AR


I posted this drawing in a entry about the strawberries, the rose family and their floral structure last year October. I think the important thing to pull away from this are that the rosehip structure is actually a Hypanthium, which is a cup/bowl of tissue created from the fusion of sepal, petal and stamen tissue. It is not a true fruit, though some people might call it an accessory fruit ( i.e. the eaten part of the plant is not ovary tissue). The true fruit in this case would be each individual pistil within, in this case called an achene (a dry, one seeded, indehiscent fruit made from one carpel). Some people mistake these for seeds, but the seed is actually hidden withing the achene. You just need to peel off the fruit wall to get at the seed.
Speaking of the fruit/ovary, I’ve always been taught that these kinds of roses have superior ovaries. If we recognize that the hypanthium is floral tissue, then  the ovaries are technically attached above where the hypanthium attaches to the pedicel.
ps. omg, thanks for reblogging my Tillandsia picture NYBG!

nybg:

brilliantbotany:

This is the cross-section of a rose hip, the fruit that forms at the base of a rose. Many are edible and are used in everything from jellies to teas. This type of anatomy is called an inferior ovary, where the ovary sits below the other parts of the flower.

[Photo Source]

Never forget that fruit are a plant’s reproductive organs. ~AR

I posted this drawing in a entry about the strawberries, the rose family and their floral structure last year October. I think the important thing to pull away from this are that the rosehip structure is actually a Hypanthium, which is a cup/bowl of tissue created from the fusion of sepal, petal and stamen tissue. It is not a true fruit, though some people might call it an accessory fruit ( i.e. the eaten part of the plant is not ovary tissue). The true fruit in this case would be each individual pistil within, in this case called an achene (a dry, one seeded, indehiscent fruit made from one carpel). Some people mistake these for seeds, but the seed is actually hidden withing the achene. You just need to peel off the fruit wall to get at the seed.

Speaking of the fruit/ovary, I’ve always been taught that these kinds of roses have superior ovaries. If we recognize that the hypanthium is floral tissue, then  the ovaries are technically attached above where the hypanthium attaches to the pedicel.

ps. omg, thanks for reblogging my Tillandsia picture NYBG!

Anonymous asked: Hi, i'm doing a research paper for my Ethnobotany class and I cannot find any cross-section pictures of a Cornus nuttallii, Pacific Dogwood, would you have any pictures of that??

Hey there,

    I don’t have a picture of that, unfortunately. Can you specify what part of the plant you’re trying to get a cross section of? The inflorescence, stem, root, leaf? Many plants have similar appearing stem, root and leaf cross sections. If you’re looking for the inflorescence, it’s probably going to be simillar in cross section to any other plant with a capitulum/head inflorescence. Hope that helps a little at least.

Good luck!

I’m really sorry for not posting to this blog more often. I get all caught up with my botanizing at work and sometimes just forget about sharing various fun botany stories on this blog. 
Anyway, I’m posting again after a long break mostly because swamibooba bullied me into it (naaawwww! Just kidding, however, I tend to do whatever he tells me to do. Today we’re looking at a species of Tillandsia, also known as the air plant. This plant is a member of the bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae). The most prominent member of this family is probably the pineapple plant, which produces sweet and delicious fruits made from the fusion of multiple flowers…we’ll have to discuss this in depth another time. The family itself is quite diverse and in addition to soil dwelling plants like pineapples, various species can also live up in trees epiphytically.
A lot of people get confused with the term epiphyte, which is used to describe plants that grow up on the branches and leaves of other plants (usually trees). Epiphytes only depend on other plants for support and do not steal nutrients or energy as a parasite would. My Tillandsia sp. is one such organism. It has no roots and is mostly just a ball of little leaves that are covered in little white trichomes/scales. This plant absorbs all it’s water and nutrients through it’s leaves. When water is scarce, the leaves dry and the trichomes go white and serve to reflect light away from the plant in order to conserve water. When water is present, the white surface goes translucent and the leaves go quite green, which allows photosynthesis to proceed. 
Aside from leaves, these plants often reproduce by budding off. They’ll send out a little trailing stem (you can see one runner climbing up the back wall of the glass container) that eventually forms a new cluster of leaves at the node. This trailing stem is a new thing for me and I’m quite excited. Hopefully a new leafy structure will form soon!

I’m really sorry for not posting to this blog more often. I get all caught up with my botanizing at work and sometimes just forget about sharing various fun botany stories on this blog. 

Anyway, I’m posting again after a long break mostly because swamibooba bullied me into it (naaawwww! Just kidding, however, I tend to do whatever he tells me to do. Today we’re looking at a species of Tillandsia, also known as the air plant. This plant is a member of the bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae). The most prominent member of this family is probably the pineapple plant, which produces sweet and delicious fruits made from the fusion of multiple flowers…we’ll have to discuss this in depth another time. The family itself is quite diverse and in addition to soil dwelling plants like pineapples, various species can also live up in trees epiphytically.

A lot of people get confused with the term epiphyte, which is used to describe plants that grow up on the branches and leaves of other plants (usually trees). Epiphytes only depend on other plants for support and do not steal nutrients or energy as a parasite would. My Tillandsia sp. is one such organism. It has no roots and is mostly just a ball of little leaves that are covered in little white trichomes/scales. This plant absorbs all it’s water and nutrients through it’s leaves. When water is scarce, the leaves dry and the trichomes go white and serve to reflect light away from the plant in order to conserve water. When water is present, the white surface goes translucent and the leaves go quite green, which allows photosynthesis to proceed. 

Aside from leaves, these plants often reproduce by budding off. They’ll send out a little trailing stem (you can see one runner climbing up the back wall of the glass container) that eventually forms a new cluster of leaves at the node. This trailing stem is a new thing for me and I’m quite excited. Hopefully a new leafy structure will form soon!

Remember the early orchid inflorescence that I was so excited about a few weeks ago? It has finally started to bloom! It turns out the orchid is a species in the large genus Oncidium, which is a popular horicultural genus known as the ‘spray orchids’. There are some interesting vegetative and floral characteristics in this family, but I’ll talk about them later. If you want to learn more about orchid pollination, check out my past post about it here.
Because Vancouver is starting to be hit with rain and windstorms, I had to bring this orchid indoors for the winter. This means I get to look at the orchid every day. Woo hoo!

Remember the early orchid inflorescence that I was so excited about a few weeks ago? It has finally started to bloom! It turns out the orchid is a species in the large genus Oncidium, which is a popular horicultural genus known as the ‘spray orchids’. There are some interesting vegetative and floral characteristics in this family, but I’ll talk about them later. If you want to learn more about orchid pollination, check out my past post about it here.

Because Vancouver is starting to be hit with rain and windstorms, I had to bring this orchid indoors for the winter. This means I get to look at the orchid every day. Woo hoo!